Friday, December 29, 2006

Rockasoo's Recommended Holiday Viewing

I know this site is called The GOOD music but there are some things that are just as important to me as music. Of course I am talking about the GOOD television. Today is my first ever feature on television that makes Rocky's heart go a-thumpety-thump. I had a chance to watch three of my favorite programs ever over the holidays and would like to invite you to do the same. If some time in the past you have watched and enjoyed all of the following, please let's get married; this being Canada, I have no gender preferences.

Over the second season I have really warmed up to the American adaptation of England's brilliant "The Office". Steve Carell may not be as subtle in his unique managerial stylings as his UK counterpart Ricky Gervais but nevertheless makes for enjoyable viewing. Both series are wholly recommended viewing especially if you have ever worked in an office. It only seems appropriate for the holiday season to offer up "A Benihana Christmas". Observe the not-so-subtle nod to my homeland of Japan. Simply, know the name of the episode you want and type it into Dailymotion's search for the rest.

I never could get into Japanese Doramas as much as I tried. Four and a half years yielded nothing for me. I'm sure there were many worthwhile offerings but my lack of Japanese and cultural understanding made it difficult to get anywhere. While packing my boxes for my fated journey back to Canada I decided to take a short break and see what was on the tube (it was at least 40 degrees out there, man). That's when I discovered "GTO", or Great Teacher Onizuka. Starring the absolutely amazing Takashi Sorimachi, GTO is the story about the life of Eikichi Onizuka. He sets out to become the greatest teacher ever, using his own brand of philosophy and the ability to do nearly anything when under sufficient pressure. It's simply the finest school drama in existence. And yes, it's got sub-titles. You can find the other 11 episodes here.

And finally, here's something from my university days, Twitch City! I am so happy to hear that this gem is finally available on DVD. I remember being called up from my art studio by a bunch of friends to take a break to watch "Fishing with John", "Space Ghost" and some trumpeted new CBC program that I had seen cryptic ads for but never paid much attention to. Luckily for me, my friends had a talent for finding the cool and my life is that much better for it. Twitch City, starring Don McKellar as Curtis, is about a near clinical shut-in who goes about his life watching television. He devises a method of sustaining an income by double renting every square inch of his apartment. It's not a comedy or a drama but it's funny and dramatic. It's simply beyond the traditional cannon of television and it's possibly the greatest Canadian program ever made. Hai, douzo.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

While I was Out - An Update on the Lack Thereof

My computer died. It died a slow nasty death. I had been planning on extending its usefulness by buying a new hard drive and simply ignoring the obvious bottlenecks and workarounds for another year or so when my computer would be crap by every single measurable standard; but it died. My beloved Hitachi Prius has left this mortal coil by way of a failing power supply. Rather, I suspect the connection that is soldered on the circuit board has come loose and the power just isn't getting where it's supposed to be very well anymore. I still have the task of trying to get the information off this beast and backed up onto disc. This whole effort makes me kind of nervous because the supply could say it's true final farewells at any given moment and the battery life is literally no more than fifteen minutes. Not a great prospect for someone who wants to hold onto over three years of teaching materials, drawings and miscellaneous accumulated curiosities. But that is for another time. As nice as my new wide screen Acer Aspire is, typing this entry is trying my patience a little bit. The main complaint is the lousy North American keyboard configuration.

The Prius was a Japanese machine and as such has gone with what Europe and the rest of the world sees as the superior keyboard configuration. For one, the Enter key is massive on the European design and now when ever I try to hit the Enter key it turns out as a (\) half the time. Don't get me started on the (@,',") keys. Anyone who has had to deal with the shitty N.A. layout after using a European keyboard will know exactly what I'm talking about.

While as was AFK (away from keyboard), I was surprised at just how much reading I was capable of doing. I read three books over the course of the week. All thanks to my bookworm of a friend, really more of a booksnake (draw your own conclusions) Mark Guppy. Mark has distinction of being the only person featured in my links area. Mark's a great guy and an infinitely better writer than me so please check him out. First, I read Modern Manners - An Etiquette Book For Rude People by P.J. O'Rourke. I read this book entirely while on the can. Methinks there's nothing more polite than reading a book on good manners while pinching loafs. Next, I read a book on punctuation called Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. While funny and informative the book is British and concentrates on the Queen's punctuation. I am Canadian, and while we take our cues from the motherland we also follow many of the standards from that country below us. At least I know can start up a sparkling (and very polite) conversation about the use of Oxford commas with all my friends. Finally, I trucked through Koji Suzuki's Ring in two days. It wasn't much like the movie at all and that turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

worthy books in their own right but that chapter has come to an end because, once more, I have an endless supply of media to keep me occupied. Kinda sad really, I'll miss you Hitachi Prius...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

ROYKSOPP - Remind Me

Over the past few weeks I've been submitting resumes to different companies all over the world. I'll go anywhere for a chance at a brighter future - preferably one that isn't 35 below. I've been struggling with the idea of returning back to Japan for a threepeat. I miss that place so damn much. I miss the food and foul stench of Osakan streets. I miss the tacky cosmopolitan pleasures I took for granted and are non-existent in Winkler, Manitoba. I miss my friends and my freedom. I miss my money and my music (I know the Japanese music scene is passing me by...). Hell, I even miss my damn job. Despite my greater efforts I have yet to receive a single reply from a prospective employer. I refuse to admit defeat just yet.

Thinking about the past makes me think about people who have had an impact on my life. Today's video reminds me of someone who did just that. Röyksopp may be a bit of a one trick pony and this track isn't exactly new but in my opinion rises above the rest and there's a small spot in my heart reserved for this song. A small spot because I got a lot of songs in there.

Officially formed in 1998, Röyksopp is an electronic music duo based in Bergen, Norway composed of Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge. The popularity of the duo's first album entitled, 'Melody A.M.' was boosted by several graphically experimental music videos. Today's video for 'Remind Me', an infographic-styled video by French company H5, won the 2002 MTV Europe Music Award for best music video. A well deserved prize if you ask me, if ever there was a video that inspired me to fire up Adobe Illustrator and 'go for it' this would be it. It's constantly fighting for the top place on my best CG video of all time (tho Groovisions produced 'Rodeo Machine' is still in the contention).

Somehow I don't think I need to say who I dedicate this video to. I think anyone who is in the know already knows. Enjoy.